Islam

Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?

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The BBC reports:

Since 2013, the number of people across the Arab world identifying as "not religious" has risen from 8% to 13%. The rise is greatest in the under 30s, among whom 18% identify as not religious.

 
 

The trend in North Africa is significantly greater than the rest of the Arab world. Iranians aren’t Arabs, they’re Persians, but it would be interesting to know the trend there. I think the drift to secularism in Iran would be even greater in response to an oppressive Islamic regime.

Another indicator of rising secularism in the Arab world is the declining fertility rate. In general, the more religious you are the more children you have, the more secular, the lower the fertility rate. Forty years after the Islamic Revolution, Iranians are disillusioned with Islam and becoming secular. They’ve also become the most responsive people to the gospel on the planet. Perhaps the same trend is emerging in the Arab Muslim world.

This is What a Movement Looks Like

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Some people see Muslim migration to Europe as a problem. For others it’s an opportunity to make disciples and plant churches. When persecution scattered the believers in Acts 8:1-4 they took the gospel with them to Antioch and multiplied disciples and churches.

As refugees and immigrants move into Europe, opportunities to reach Muslims are opening up.

Here’s a report from a worker somewhere in Greece:

We drove 554 km to another city to gather new and newer Muslim background believers and help them form into a church.  We took them to scripture and defined who makes up the church, what does the church do activity-wise, where and when does the church meet, and what is the purpose of the church.  We taught them how to choose elders in a local body of Christ via character and integrity, and then the church lays hands on them after fasting and prayer.  

It was a great three days of training delving into the Word of God.  The final day we modeled what a church does as we taught them about the Lord’s Supper, and they took the Lord’s Supper together for the first time as a church. We will be traveling back and forth to strengthen that church.  

Soon many of them will be moving to new places, so we looked in the Bible at how churches planted churches in the New Testament. We challenged them that when they leave for another place in Europe, they are a dandelion church that will birth new churches by gospeling among Arabs, discipling them and gathering new churches; we expect them to make disciples who plant churches who plant churches.

We did this type of church formation training twice in the past months with the scattered believers; as Titus was sent to set in order the work that Paul had started, we have the opportunity to help gather these new believers into church and help train their leaders regularly.  We have started a long-term discipleship and leadership training that go hand-in-hand.  Disciples study 30 stories from creation to Christ, and the leaders study the same 30 stories but are taught how to use an inductive Bible study method so they can train their new believers in their churches.

Don’t get lost in the missional fog. This is the core missionary task—gospel, disciples and new churches from where you are, to the ends of the earth, until Jesus returns.

Find someone who has fresh stories like these. Get them to train you. Go make disciples.

40 Years Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
Psalm 46:6

Forty years since Iran’s Islamic revolution, who would have thought the children of that revolution would be turning to Christ in unprecedented numbers under the watchful eye of an oppressive regime.

Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. Yet never before has there been so many new disciples and churches started. Let’s remember who holds the nations in the palm of his hand.

The War on Christians in the Middle East

From the Spectator:

At least 36 people [ed now 49] have died in Egypt after blasts targeted Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday. Today’s attack is just the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East. As Jonathan Sacks observed: ‘until recently, Christians represented 20 percent of the population of the Middle East; today, 4 percent’. In 2013, John L. Allen Jr. wrote for The Spectator on the global persecution of churchgoers — the unreported catastrophe of our time. Unfortunately, the article still holds true today.

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The spread of the world's Muslim population

As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.
Although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis.
More Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).
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